Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air 2020 Comparison in 2021

When it comes to light, portable and affordable laptops, people usually think about the two major brands, Microsoft and Apple. It makes sense because these two brands are in a head-to-head competition with one another. However, there’s always a winner at the end, which is why today we are here to talk about Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air 2020 with Intel CPU. For a fair comparison, we decided not to compare MacBook Air M1 with Surface Laptop Go.

For starters, there’s no doubt that the Surface Laptop Go and MacBook Air are two of the lightest and slimmest possible laptops in the market. The previous Microsoft’s Surface Laptops came with a display size of 15-Inch and 13-Inch and take the market by storm. However, with the launch of the 12.5-Inch Surface Laptop Go, people have more reasons to compare it with MacBook Air, known as the cheapest Apple laptop to date.

Both laptops have unique hardware specifications; both are lightweight, ultra-slim, and, most importantly, affordable. A the end of the day, there’s one between them that’s better for you, so stick with us till the end. Today we will conduct a detailed comparison between these laptops so that you can make a better wise decision and get the best value for your money.

Specs: Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air 2020

Surface Laptop GoMacBook Air 2020
CPUIntel Core i5-1035G1Intel Core i3, i5 and i7
GPUIntel UHD GraphicsIntel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x8GB / 16GB
Storage64GB (eMMC) with optional 128/256GB SSD256GB to 2TB SSD
Display12.4-Inch PixelSense with 1536 x 1024 Resolution13.3-Inch Retina Display with 2560 x 1600 Resolution
Battery Life13 hours11 hours
Size10.95 x 8.1 x 0.62 inches11.9 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches
Weight2.45 pounds2.8 pounds
Connection1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5 mm Headphone Jack, and Surface Connect2x Thunderbolt 3 USB-C
SecurityFingerprint ScannerTouch ID

Design: Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air

Both the laptops have an aluminum body that looks super-sleek, thin, and light. However, there’s a massive difference between the Microsoft Surface Laptop Go and the Apple MacBook Air 2020 chassis. The former comes with a unique and iconic design with a monochrome color scheme and a Windows logo on the lid.

When it comes to the design, you will find a little similarity between the two laptops. However, the resemblance is only skin deep. The good news here is that you no longer have to worry about the Alcantara fabric in the Surface Laptop Go because this one is a budget device with no such staining issues as its sibling versions.

As far as the measurement and weight are concerned, the MacBook Air comes with 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.63 inches and 2.8 pounds. On the other hand, the Surface Laptop Go has a 10.95 x 8.10 x 0.62 inches, and it weighs around 2.45 pounds. Keeping in view these measurements, you can tell that Laptop Go is the winner here. The new Microsoft Laptop Go is shorter, thinner, and lighter in weight than the 2020 MacBook Air.

Price and Value: Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air

The major difference between the Surface Laptop Go, and 2020 MacBook Air is the price. Microsoft offers a very affordable and reasonable notebook that comes with a starting price of $549. For this price, you get a laptop with an extra powerful processor, excellent touchscreen display, and performance that matches the MacBook Air in several respects.

On the other hand, Apple products have always been under the spotlight for being expensive. MacBook Air starts at $999, which is the most affordable laptop by the brand. Spending money on MacBook means that you are investing in a better-looking Ultrabook with massive memory storage and a great display.

Keeping the price and the value you get with it in view, it’s apparent that we’d recommend Microsoft over Apple. It’s cheaper, it’s more portable, and performance-wise, it’s not much different than MacBook Air. In a nutshell, we again have the Surface Laptop Go as our winner when it comes to price and value.

Display: MacBook Air vs Surface Laptop Go

One of the advantages that the Surface Laptop Go leverages over MacBook Air 2020 is that of the display. Microsoft Surface comes with a 12.4-inch PixelSense display with 10-Point Multi-touch, but when it comes to MacBook, there’s no such thing as a touch screen.

For someone who enjoys a widescreen space that’s more vertical, Surface Laptop Go is the right choice. It offers a 3:2 aspect ratio instead of the standard 16:9. In simpler words, if you want to read your documents and surf different websites without any hassle, then Microsoft is the winner here.

Display Comparison of MacBook Air 2020 vs Surface Laptop Go

Speaking of non-standard aspect ratio, Apple also has a Retina display, 16:10 aspect ratio, with a 2560×1600 resolution. Microsoft resolution in its latest laptop is 1536 x 1024, so there’s quite a lot of difference here between the two. For an HD and much more premium experience, we’d recommend the MacBook Air. It is obvious for Apple to offer a higher pixel density of 227 and that of Surface Laptop Go is 148.

Furthermore, the True Tone display technology introduced by Apple makes the Macbook Air an even better choice. It’s because this technology helps in delivering the best color accuracy and better visibility. It all falls back to the value and usability that you are looking forward to. If you are ready to spend a little extra for a better display, then Apple is the winner for you here.

Keyboard and Touchpad

The keyboard and touchpad are two of the most important aspects people consider when buying a laptop. The Surface Laptop Go keyboard is quite wide and offers 1.3 millimeters travel with a touch finish of the keys. However, the MacBook Air has the Apple Magic keyboard, which is quite impressive. Moreover, it offers 1 millimeter of travel, making the typing experience extremely easy and comfortable. If you’ve used the previous versions, you’ll find a significant improvement in the new 2020 MacBook Air regarding its keyboard and touchpad.

Graphics: Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air

If you have a little know-how of laptops, you’d know that when it comes to graphics, nothing can beat Apple. The same is the case here when comparing MacBook Air and Surface Laptop Go. With a MacBook, you get Thunderbolt enabled GPU and Intel Iris Plus Graphics. On top of that, the 227 PPI and True Tone display add more value. As with this tech, you can enjoy 3 million different color options.

Furthermore, what makes it even better is it comes with a larger aperture that offers superior viewing and extraordinary energy efficiency with the backlighting. As far as the Surface Laptop Go is concerned, its Intel UHD Graphics provides a neat and sharp image. Moreover, PixelSense technology creates this beautiful color experience that you’ll fall in love with.

Someone who loves the glamour of Apple products and has tried them before would find Microsoft Laptop Go a little less fun in regards to the display and graphics.

Connectivity and Accessibility

The connection features of both laptops are excellent. From USB-C ports to Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth connectivity, you’ll get it. Surface Laptop Go offers the touchscreen feature, making it easier and more convenient for people to use. However, at the same time, MacBook Air offers the force-touch trackpad with the butterfly mechanism keyboard.

In simpler words, with this Apple, you get a keyboard with a comfortable typing experience and a highly responsive trackpad. Speaking of the trackpad, it comes packed with Taptic EngineForce and captive glass, which is excellent with the pressure sensitivity differences.

On top of everything else, MacBook Air offers a plethora of different features, starting from Text-to-Speech to FaceTime and other such options that support your motor skills. Moreover, for some people, the camera quality matters a lot because we live in the digital era where people conduct business meetings and educational sessions online. For this, you do need a laptop that possesses excellent audio with good camera quality.

Battery Life: Surface Laptop Go vs MacBook Air

Upon testing the battery of both laptops, we concluded that both worked equally well, and it’s a tie here. However, there’s a little clash between what the companies claim about their respective laptops and what actually the case is. As per the claims, Surface Laptop Go lasts for 13 hours, and MacBook Air lasts for 11 hours.

However in out test, the Surface Laptop Go last for 9 hours, and the MacBook Air lasted for 10 hours. The average time of 9 to 10 hours is quite impressive. This is what you can expect from a quality laptop with a powerful battery.

Memory and Storage Capacity

In regards to memory and storage capacity, both devices share some similarities. The Laptop Go uses the Intel Pentium Gold processor and offers an 8GB RAM with a storage capacity of 128GB. Moreover, it comes equipped with a headphones jack and a multi-tasking USB-C.

On the other hand, MacBook Air 2020 comes with an even more powerful Intel’s 8th Gen Dual-Core i5 processor. The RAM it offers is 8GB with a storage capacity of 256GB. The turbo boost frequency and the base frequency of these laptops are also the same, 1.6GHz and 3.6GHz.

In a nutshell, you’ll be getting the same speed levels, whether you opt for Microsoft or Apple here.

Portability: MacBook Air vs Surface Laptop Go

When we talk about portability, there are several things to take into account. From the battery timing to the overall performance of the laptop, all of it counts here. Speaking of which, upon testing, we realized that Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go is the winner here. It’s because first, it comes with a decent battery timing (equal to MacBook) and supports fast charging.

The main difference here is between the ports. It might appear a little astonishing that the MacBook comes with one audio jack and two Thunderbolt 3 USB-C ports. That’s it! If you wish to attach a display or other USB accessories, you’d need a Mac compatible dongle.

However, this isn’t the case with Surface Laptop Go as it comes with an audio jack, both USB-C, and USB-A, and a separate Surface Connect port. With it, you won’t ever have to worry about carrying a separate dongle around. If that’s what you wish for, then Microsoft Surface is definitely the right choice.

Operating System: Windows 10 vs macOS

For someone who cares a lot about the OS, there can be a little confusion when deciding on one laptop. Microsoft Surface comes with the Windows 10 operating system, and Apple MacBook, of course, comes with the macOS. There’s nothing to be confused about because if you’ve been using macOS earlier, you should stick to it. If you’ve been using Windows, you need to opt for Microsoft Surface. It will be easier for you to get some hold of the operating system without any hassle.

Hands Down, Surface Laptop Go Is the Winner Here

Keeping in view all the differences and similarities, it’s quite clear that Microsoft Surface is the winner. The advantage of Microsoft Surface Laptop Go over Apple MacBook Air 2020 is the price. This really does count, especially if you are getting almost the same features and performance with a much cheaper laptop.

For someone on a tight budget, we would recommend Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Go. However, if you’ve been using Apple products and have enough money, then the MacBook Air is the best option. It has unique features and, most importantly, its glamour that one cannot overlook.

Now that you know what’s better for you, it’s time that you get your hands on the Surface Laptop Go right away and see how things fall into place. Rest assured that this won’t be a disappointing choice, and you sure will enjoy using the Microsoft Surface as it checks all the boxes of being a perfect laptop.

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Naveed A. Khan

Being a tech enthusiast and a founder of LookGadgets Naveed loves to review and share his thoughts with his audience. Although he is a Certified Network Engineer - but his main interests are in the latest CPU, GPU, Monitors, Laptops, Internet Routers, and PC peripherals.

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